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Last Updated: Monday, 10 May, 2004, 11:00 GMT 12:00 UK
Boomerang 'is British invention'
Aboriginal Australians are usually credited with the boomerang
A top children's writer is suggesting that the boomerang was invented in West Yorkshire rather than Australia.

Terry Deary, author of the Horrible Histories series, got the idea while out jogging on Ilkley Moor and spotted the famous Swastika Stone

The four-armed Bronze Age image is thought by most experts to have been used in the worship of sun or fire.

But Mr Deary said: "It's the earliest representation of a boomerang. There's nothing else it could be."

The writer says the first boomerangs would have had four arms as it was easier to get them to return.

But over time, the two-armed boomerang was developed.

Australians have sent us Rolf Harris and Kylie Minogue - it's payback time
Terry Deary,
Australian Aborigines are generally credited with inventing the boomerang.

The curved stick was used for hunting, with the wobbly flight path designed to confuse and then break the legs or wings of animals or birds.

Mr Deary also sees his claim as something of an act of revenge.

"Australians have sent us Rolf Harris and Kylie Minogue. It's payback time," he said.

But an expert in Australian history, Professor John Manning from the University of Wales at Lampeter, said he doubts whether the boomerang originated in Yorkshire.

Hunting stick

He told BBC News Online: "The Aborigines feel very strongly about the boomerang.

"By making accusations like this, there is the risk of creating an international incident."

A spokesman for the British Boomerang Society said early boomerangs used for hunting have been found all over the world, but these would not normally return to the person throwing it.

The boomerang that comes back to the thrower was almost certainly developed in Australia, he said.

"It would have been a fluke discovery made while using curved hunting stick."

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25 Jul 02  |  England

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